Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Daniel J. Biezad


The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are rapidly expanding and taking on new roles in the military. In the area of training and targeting vehicles, control systems are expanding the functionality of UAVs beyond their initially designed purpose. Aeromech Engineering’s NXT UAV is a high speed target drone that is intended to simulate a small aircraft threat. However, in the interest of increasing functionality, enabling NXT to accomplish wings level skidding turns provides the basis for a UAV that can simulate a threat from a missile. Research was conducted to investigate the aerodynamic and performance characteristics of a winged vehicle performing high acceleration skidding turns. Initially, a linear model was developed using small disturbance theory. The model was further improved by developing a six degree of freedom simulation. A controller using four loop closures and utilizing both rudder and aileron for control was developed. Any outside guidance system that navigates using a heading command can easily be integrated into this controller design. Simulations show this controller enables the NXT UAV to accomplish up to 3 G wings level skidding turns. Further testing, showed that the controller was able to tolerate significant turbulence, sensor noise, loop failures and changes within the plant dynamics. This research shows how it is possible for a winged UAV to easily maneuver using wings level skid turns.